EDISON — As Mayor Thomas Lankey, a Democrat, begins his second term, he reached across the aisle calling for teamwork to move the township forward.
“Edison does not have an election in 2018,” he said. “We need to put politics aside. The future is now, let’s roll up our sleeves and let the passion flow … the town in our hearts is waiting for us.”
Many times quoting his favorite musician, Bruce Springsteen, Lankey addressed the Township Council, members of his administration, township employees, family, friends and the public who came out to the reorganization meeting on Jan. 1 that was held in council chambers.
Lankey said many call him hope because he talks about hope all the time.
“Bruce did write ‘what are we without hopes in our hearts’ … I think that’s where we are today,” he said. “When we ended the election and the campaign is over, we have to get down to business.”
Lankey said the township has to move forward and they as elected officials have to do everything they can for what is best for the township and not let politics stand in the way.
“I went to Bruce on Broadway and he said the future is not written yet,” he said. “We all start with a blank page and we do have this blank page. What I ask is together, the council, municipal employees, the rest of the elected officials across the state and all the residents, we write that page together to move forward what is best for Edison.”
Lankey said many accomplishments have been made during his first term including with safety, the economy, township services, and infrastructure.
“If we look at tax rate wise, we have moved down to the sixth lowest rate in the county which is a great accomplishment that we are very proud of … this was all done with teamwork,” he said.
Lankey said Springsteen talks about a dream and trying to make it real.
“We will continue that momentum [of accomplishments] moving forward,” he said.
Lankey said in the next year, his administration will work on continuing to improve public safety and the township’s infrastructure.
“We want to be the premiere destination for businesses moving into the town,” he said adding that the township has redevelopment plans in place. “We will work on improving municipal services bringing in wellness programs and [address] environmental issues that we have to face and just basically making [the town] a better place.”
Lankey said they will continue to work on becoming more inclusive and more diversified.
The mayor said the diversification and how the township handles the diversity is a big factor in Money Magazine’s selection of the township as the 19th best place to live in America.
Lankey said one of the biggest projects they are working on in the New Year is bringing in a new community center, which started in 2017.
Township officials have been looking for a new space for the Dorothy K. Drwal Stelton Community Center on Plainfield Avenue, which had been a former school building. Parts of the building were built in the 1930s and other parts were built in the 1950s.
The mayor said they will also continue to upgrade the parks in the township and work with the Edison Board of Education to address the overcrowding in the schools.